regarding the Shure versus the AT, the shure is going to be much better at rejection of feedback. Much much better.
I will not need a lot of volume for my live sound reinforcement. I will never be around hard drums, loud electric guitars, etc. Usually I'll be on stage with a pianist, a couple of strings, a sax, etc. Not loud. Think jazz volume. They will not be in huge arenas or stadiums. Just small auditoriums, churches, etc.
If I need more volume in the distant future (which may be the case) I'll buy either a contact (AKG C419/519) or vibration (AKG C411) mic to add some meat to my natural microphone. But for now, I just need a natural sounding microphone for studio applications which can also be used for live sound reinforcement.
I have asked cellists, and they have recommended mics that are way out of my range (AKG C414) or just plain crappy (Fishman Pickup...). I have read about the AMT, but it is much too expensive to only be used for live sound.
Besides the size and look, would the SM81 reproduce the cello's sound better than the AT4040?
One additional question: If I were to buy a contact mic (specifically the AKG C419 or C519) later on, could I use this in the studio in addition to my natural mic? The contact mic would probably get a more aggressive sound, which could mix well with the airy sound of the natural mic, right? If this were the case, I would probably go with the contact mic (as opposed to vibration pickup) when I need more volume for live sound. Otherwise, I would go with the vibration pickup because they are highly resistant to feedback and easier to EQ and modify with effects.
Also, would it be cheaper to rent a microphone in addition to whatever microphone I purchase, and record my cello (for college applications) with piano accompaniment or just go to a studio? I know it depends on the mic and the studio, but I would estimate a good 500 dollar mic (or two) to rent vs. a decent low-budget recording studio.
Cucco, I'm pretty sure all of those microphones are out of my range. Any cheaper alternatives?
Thanks again, everyone, you've all been a big help.
Just to clarify my previous post - I only advocated the 57 as a generally good mic to have around. Surely there are others better for cello, esp recording, and on that point I defer to Joe and Cucco.
If you are playing cello in a jazz situation this may or may not work for you or for what you want to do.
Take a small diameter microphone (see http://www.locationsound.com/PDF_200...icrophones.pdf) and put some foam rubber around it and place it in your "f" hole at the top or the bottom of the "f" hole. We did this a couple of times when providing concert sound for a cellist and a large ensemble. YMMV. Make sure the foam rubber is all the way around the microphone and that the microphone does not contact the cello at all. Countryman makes some very good microphones for this.
Best of luck!
THIS IS NOT IDEAL BUT IT WORKS AND WORKS WELL in real world situations.
Thomas W. Bethel
Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
Room with a View Productions
Oberlin, OH 44074
Celebrating 18 years in the mastering business in 2013